Ada Lovelace

1815 (London) – 1852 (London)

Lovelace (Byron’s daughter, though he abandoned her as a baby) was brought up to prefer mathematics to poetry. Her role in early computing is complicated; she was uniquely perceptive about the far-reaching implications of Babbage’s work. She was a close ally of his (he called her an ‘enchantress of numbers’), strongly supportive of him (even when treading on each others’ toes), and deeply involved in propagating his achievements. Somerville, a family friend and neighbour, taught and mentored her, as did de Morgan. She also worked with Wheatstone, another family friend. Faraday, fearing for his health, declined her request to help her.